JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE LONELY, DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE READY
Real, Yes—Reality, Not Necessarily!
The divorce rate—as high as it is—isn’t an accurate barometer of the failure of romantic relationships because the vast majority of them end without there ever having been a formal marriage. That makes it virtually impossible to even guestimate what the relationship failure rate really is.
There are many reasons that fledgling relationships don’t take full flight and never make it to that happy sunset 50 or 60 years later. And, like most things we write about in this space, there’s a direct correlation to grief and to recovery from loss. This is especially true when the recovery component is missing.
The absence of recovery sustains the divorce and break-up rate at painfully high levels. Painful because every break-up produces grief, even if there’s some relief at the ending with the cessation of bickering and other recurring problems. But without recovery, the unfinished emotional business left behind becomes the breeding ground for subsequent relationship failures.
3 SIGNS THAT YOU’RE STUCK IN A BAD RELATIONSHIP
How to know when it’s time to go.
Kelly Campbell Ph.D.
It’s difficult to admit that a relationship that started out great and with so much promise has turned into something bad. When we enter a relationship, we’re often wearing rose-colored glasses, focusing on all our partner’s good qualities and ignoring their faults. That’s why our family and friends are typically better at predicting the outcome of our relationships than we are.
Here are three signs that it might be time to end a relationship:
LOVE & LUST
Virginia Rutter Ph.D
Who says marriage is where desire goes to die? We can’t quite bring ourselves to believe that passion can thrive on modern love—because our sexual imagination is stuck in the past.
“‘Hot is not the word I’d use,” says Hannah of her 23-year marriage to Barry.* “Slow simmer” is more like it. “One thing you learn over time,” she says, “is that, no matter how long you live together, two people always inhabit separate worlds. Some part of your partner is deeply unknowable.”
Although it is hard to coax any words out of her on a topic she considers, perhaps quaintly, so private, Hannah makes it clear that their sex life cleaves to the contours of their commitment. “There are nights, not often but indelible, when passion builds in molten intensity from an unremarkable start,” she says. And there are nights—”almost more transcendent,” she confides—when the two share the separateness, lying naked together, holding hands in rich silence. And there are many nights in between.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH HEALTHY COUPLES
David and Constantino Khalaf
Building a healthy marriage, like building and maintaining a home, means having a lot of tools in your toolbox to make repairs. The more tools you have, the better equipped you are to fix something that goes wrong in the relationship. But how do we gain these tools when relationship repair doesn’t come naturally to us? For us, we’ve gained a wealth of wisdom by observing other healthy couples in our lives.
Research suggests that couples who are friends with other couples have better marriages. We’ve found this to be true among our diverse group of coupled friends. Because we got married in our late 30s, we have many friends our age who have been married a long time, some as much as 20 years. We love chatting with them about our varying paths to relationships, sharing the challenges we’ve faced and the ways we’ve navigated them. Each of us has a dynamic that is uniquely ours, which allows us to learn from each other by talking about how we handle conflict, romance, and intentionality within our marriages.
Accepting Each Other’s Influence
We’re friends with one couple that excels at expressing opinions and navigating disagreement. When we were driving with them once, they disagreed on the route to take to our destination. With friendly voices, both of them expressed their opinions and their reasons for wanting to go their respective ways. After a few minutes of discussion, one of them readily yielded and the decision was made with no hurt feelings.
4 POWERFUL LESSONS YOU GRADUALLY LEARN AS YOU LET GO OF THE PAST
If somebody is working on themselves and changing for the better, it’s unnecessary to keep bringing up their past. People can change and grow. You know this is true.
But, have you given yourself a fair chance to change and grow, too?
Have you consciously loosened your grip on everything that’s behind you, so you can step forward again with grace?
STOP TRYING TO FIX YOUR PARTNER’S FEELINGS, CONNECT WITH THEM INSTEAD
One of our deepest needs as humans is to feel understood, and true understanding is not possible without empathy. As psychologist Carl Rogers put it, “When someone really hears you without passing judgment on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good!”
Think back to a time when you were listened to and really felt heard. How did it feel to be seen as you were?
The last letter in Dr. Gottman’s ATTUNE model is E and it stands for Empathy. Brené Brown describes empathy beautifully in this brief animated video.
HEALING THROUGH INFERTILITY AND MISCARRIAGE
Every story has a happy ending but not every ending is the same.
I hadn’t struggled getting pregnant, we had just waited for what felt like the right time to try again. We were thrilled. We had a happy accident with our first pregnancy, meaning we weren’t really ready to be pregnant, but happy to have our baby. This time around, we wanted to be pregnant, we wanted this baby. I could barely contain my excitement.
If you haven’t guessed from the title of the post, and that preface, yes, I miscarried. I was heartbroken. I was already planning names, counting down to the gender ultrasound. I miscarried at 9 weeks. It was a very difficult time, right around the holidays. My doctor told me that about one in four pregnancies end with a miscarriage. I couldn’t believe the numbers were so high. Then I had friends who started to tell me about their experiences. It is a fairly common occurrence. And in most cases, it is heartbreaking for the mom. Dads may feel heartache as well, my husband had wanted the baby as much as me. It’s just different for women.
HOW TO HELP WHEN YOUR WIFE HAS A MISCARRIAGE
Having a miscarriage is one of the most painful events a woman can experience. There are no words to describe the hurt, anger and disappointment. If your wife has had a miscarriage, there are several things you can do to help her.
It was a dark, cloudy morning. My father carried the little wooden box in his hands. My siblings and I followed him ominously. Once he found the perfect spot he proceeded to bury my stillborn brother.
My mom was four months pregnant when she had the miscarriage. Despite my young age, I noticed and appreciated how my dad helped her go through that painful period in her life. He was there, physically and emotionally, for her and for each of us. Who knew that years later, it would be me who would be crying over the death of my own stillborn baby.